New Collection: The Royal Hospital Chelsea

Explore paintings held at the Royal Hospital, home of the Chelsea Pensioners for 300 years

Founders Day, 8th June, 2006 by Julian Barrow (1939-2013) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK / Bridgeman Images
Founders Day, 8th June, 2006 by Julian Barrow (1939-2013) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK / Bridgeman Images

 


Origins and History

Inspired by Les Invalides in Paris, The Royal Hospital Chelsea was founded in 1682 by King Charles II as a home for British soldiers 'broken by age or war.' 

His vision was brought to life by Sir Christopher Wren, whose elegant buildings still stand majestically on the banks of the River Thames.  Since 1913 the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show has been held annually on the South Grounds. In 2009 the first women were admitted as In-Pensioners. On ceremonial occasions the Chelsea Pensioners residents are instantly recognisable in their scarlet coats and tricorne hats. 

A Unique Art Collection 

The Royal Hospital Chelsea holds a unique collection of works that illustrate its development through 320 years of unbroken service to the nation, army and local community. The collection focuses on the buildings, occupants and personalities associated with the Hospital, particularly those of the Monarchy and the Chelsea Pensioners.

View all images from The Royal Hospital Chelsea available for licensing via the Bridgeman archive.

 

Sir Christopher Wren by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723) (after) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK
Sir Christopher Wren by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723) (after) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK

 

 

A Pinch of Snuff by Thomas Webster (1800-86) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK
A Pinch of Snuff by Thomas Webster (1800-86) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK

 

 

In-Pensioner Reg Rudhall, 1943 by  K. R Lee (fl.1943) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK
In-Pensioner Reg Rudhall, 1943 by K. R Lee (fl.1943) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK

 

 

The Retreat from Mons, 1927 by Lady Butler(Elizabeth Southerden Thompson) (1846-1933) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK
The Retreat from Mons, 1927 by Lady Butler(Elizabeth Southerden Thompson) (1846-1933) / © Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK

 


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